We recently reported how Microsoft closely collaborated with NSA on a number of products and services, allowing the agency to have access to user data. Microsoft has apparently felt the heat from the users now and the company has sent a letter to the Attorney General, complaining that the Constitution is ‘suffering’ over NSA secrecy.
The problem with tech companies is that at one hand, they are forced to comply with NSA’s demands, thanks to FISA courts’ dubious orders. However, at the same time, these companies are not allowed to divulge the details of such collaborations.
The inevitable result is that since an average user doesn’t know exactly how often a tech company collaborates with NSA, he assumes that this must be so in most of the cases, and thus becomes cynical of the security of his own data. It would seem that the same is happening with Microsoft right now.
A recent Guardian expose bathes Microsoft in a very negative light and gives the impression that the company lets NSA access virtually all sorts of user data. This may not be exactly true, but since Microsoft can’t reveal the details of its collaborations with NSA, it can’t adequately debunk the Guardian article either.
The company’s general counsel has now written a strongly worded letter to the Attorney General, Eric Holder. In the letter, Microsoft has stated that the secrecy surrounding NSA surveillance is opposed to fundamental ‘constitutional principles’ and that ‘the Constitution itself is suffering’ due to such measures.
The U.S. government, on the other hand, is slipping away to the other, Orwellian extreme. According to reports, it has threatened the internet companies that if they refuse to collaborate with surveillance requests, the government would install surveillance devices on their networks.